Turkiye reconciliation with Egypt could lead to reconciliation with Syria, Erdogan says
Turkiye’s President has acknowledged that his ongoing reconciliation with Egypt and his counterpart could also take place with the Syrian regime, seeming to confirm increasing reports.
At an event in the Turkish city of Konya on Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that “Just as Turkiye-Egypt relations started to normalise, in the next period it can also happen with Syria. There is no room for hard feelings in politics.”
It was the latest confirmation of a series of reports that emerged over the past year that Ankara would reconcile with the Syrian regime and its President, Bashar Al-Assad, 11 years after cutting off ties due to the Syrian security services’ brutal crackdown on peaceful protests during the Syrian revolution.
In July, the Turkish government said that it is willing to work with the Assad regime to bring the Kurdish militias in north-east Syria under control and, the following month, Erdogan directly admitted that he does not seek to remove Assad from power.
More recently, Erdogan confirmed intelligence talks and cooperation with Syria and, last week, iterated that a meeting with Assad is possible.
Erdogan’s latest hint at reconciliation with the Syrian regime over the weekend came a week after his historic handshake with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, another leader who the Turkish President has refused to be in contact with throughout almost a decade.
After Sisi took power following the 2013 military coup in Egypt which ousted the country’s first democratically-elected President Mohammed Morsi and allowed the country’s military to massacre of over 1,000 protestors, Ankara also cut off ties with Cairo and refused to recognise Sisi’s rule.
That has been change over the past two years, however, with talks on reconciliation ongoing and culminating in the handshake between Erdogan and Sisi, which was reportedly brokered by Qatar.
Angering many throughout the world – dissident Egyptians and human rights activists – who felt betrayed by Erdogan’s rapprochement towards Sisi’s government, it has also resulted in concerns that the Turkish President could develop similar warmth towards Assad and lead them to also restore ties, which Erdogan’s latest remarks make this an ever-greater possibility.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of the Observatory.